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Civil libertarians cheered in late August when a federal appeals court panel in Cincinnati declared that the Bush administration had unlawfully held deportation hearings in secret. It was the first major appellate ruling involving U.S. attorney general John Ashcroft’s policy on closed immigration proceedings. After Rabih Haddad, a native of Lebanon, overstayed his tourist visa, his deportation hearing was closed to the press and public. Haddad responded by filing suit in federal district court in Detroit, seeking an open hearing, among other things. Haddad’s suit was subsequently consolidated with two other suits filed by several Michigan newspapers and Congressman John Conyers, Jr., of Detroit, all of whom had been seeking to attend closed deportation hearings. The American Civil Liberties Union, counsel for all plaintiffs in the consolidated case, argued that the government must show grounds for barring the public from immigration hearings. The government argued that it didn’t have to explain why it closed some hearings. But though the government lost in Cincinnati, a month later it won in Philadelphia. There, an appeals court reversed a district court decision in a similar case and ruled in favor of the government. The Philadelphia ruling created a circuit split that could well put the issue before the U.S. Supreme Court. For all plaintiffs n American Civil Liberties Union (New York): National legal director-ACLU Steven Shapiro; director-Immigrants’ Rights Project Lucas Guttentag; senior staff attorney- Immigrants’ Rights Project Lee Gelernt; executive director-ACLU of Michigan Kary Moss; and legal director-ACLU of Michigan Michael Steinberg. (Moss and Steinberg are in the ACLU’s office in Detroit.) Gelernt, who argued the case before the appeals court, is a first amendment and immigrants’ rights expert. For plaintiff Rabih Haddad (Ann Arbor, Michigan) n Becker, Hadeed, Kellogg & Berry (Springfield, Virginia): Ashraf Nubani. Nubani is an immigration specialist. n Center for Constitutional Rights (New York): Senior litigation attorney Nancy Chang, racial justice center fellow Shayana Kadidal, and cooperating attorney David Cole. (Cole is also a professor at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C.) n Arnold & Porter (Washington, D.C.): Jonathan Martel and associates Joshua Levy and Elliott Zenick. The firm worked on the case pro bono. Martel was referred to CCR by David Cole. n Gleicher & Patek (Royal Oak, Michigan): Elizabeth Gleicher. Gleicher was pro bono local counsel for CCR. For plaintiff Detroit Free Press Inc. (Detroit) n Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn (Detroit): Herschel Fink and associate Brian Wassom. Fink has represented the newspaper for years as outside general counsel. For plaintiff The Ann Arbor News (Ann Arbor) n Soble & Rowe (Ann Arbor): Jonathan Rowe. For plaintiff The Detroit News (Detroit) n In-house: Vice president and senior legal counsel- Gannett Co., Inc., Barbara Wartelle Wall. (Wall is based in McLean, Virginia.) n Butzel Long (Detroit): Leonard Niehoff and James Stewart. (Niehoff and Stewart are in the firm’s Ann Arbor office.) The firm has represented the newspaper for many years. For plaintiff Metro Times, Inc. (Detroit) n Kasiborski, Ronayne & Flaska (Detroit): John Ronayne III. Ronayne has represented Metro Times for more than ten years. For defendant Attorney General John Ashcroft et al. (Washington, D.C.) n U.S. Department of Justice: Deputy assistant attorney general-civil division Gregory Katsas, appellate staff attorneys-civil division Robert Loeb, Eric Miller, and Sharon Swingle. outlook At press time the Justice Department was expected to file a petition for an en banc ruling before the Sixth Circuit, or appeal for certiorari this fall.

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